Piracy and armed robbery linked events in Asia have marginally dropped to 14 in July from 21 in June, according to the latest monthly piracy report from anti-piracy watchdog, ReCAAP.
The report added that about half of piracy incidents were theft, of which two were hijacks and one armed robbery aboard the Ji Xiang on 25 July.
Hijacking situations to obtain oil cargo have become an issue in the Asian region this year, with nine reported attacks on tankers, according to the report.
With half of the incidents cropping up in the South China Sea, the report warned that vessels anchoring outside port limits to avoid port dues are highly vulnerable to attack and should exercise caution.
Urging crews to exercise greater vigilance, which is key to foiling boarding attempts, the anti-piracy regulator noted that piracy incidents are fluctuating with many ups and downs in the last year. Figures have declined from 17 in July 2013 to nine in September, and then rose to 20 in October of the same year.
However, several sources noted that the continual rise in attacks is fuelled by a number of informed criminal gangs who use intelligence on vessel cargoes and routes to launch their attacks.
Several western private maritime security companies (PMSCs) are turning to Asia as a potential new market for their services, even amidst increasing hijacking reports in the region.